Time to hire a cleaning lady: Nearby metropolitan areas on top dirtiest cities list

morgueFile photo by click.

Dealing with pollution is a major issue for Earth’s ecosystem and for overall health of our lives and other living beings.

This is why Travel + Leisure’s survey of America’s dirtiest cities makes me reconsider my love for the Big Apple and two close-by metropolitan areas: NYC ranks No. 1, Baltimore at No. 3 and Philadelphia at No. 6. This is what visitors and residents are saying about the cities they travel to and live in.

Sometimes we can think that New York is a no-brainer: Millions of people work, play and live there, not including the millions and possibly billions that visit every year. I am on my way up there this weekend. That is a lot of garbage produced and then discarded on that massive island.

Not too far away with a hourlong drive is Baltimore, ranked just behind New Orleans. The harbor city was trying to combat a rat infestation earlier this year. Ew. I love going down to Baltimore on weekends, and it saddens me that the city is in such disarray.

Philadelphia, which is a bit of a longer drive, still ranks in the top 10, but apparently is making strides, as it was No. 2 last year. I think Baltimore and NYC should take tips from them.

While the idea of this level of pollution is gross, I am not surprised. I recently moved downtown from my outskirts apartment, and the garbage that is in York City shocks me. I had to complain to my landlord about my neighbors’ piling garbage, and I have met a furry friend or two that I would rather live outside my living area, not in it.

I have some tips for these cities and downtown York:

  • Start fining for littering. There are laws in Pennsylvania against dumping and littering, and you can be fined $300 if you are caught littering from a vehicle, for example. Jail time can be imposed, too.
  • Also start fining landlords who are negligent with their tenants. Landlords, visit your buildings to make sure everything is in tip-top shape, and residents, call landlords when things start smelling a little weird (like in my hallway, for example.)
  • Maybe try what the South Dublin City Council did with this video to curb littering. The York City council can host a contest to see who can develop the best PSA against littering, and it will barely cost money.
  • Encourage more companies to volunteer for community days. United Way Day of Caring is just one example.
  • Hey, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and seniors looking for graduation projects! Develop something to help our community combat trash.

These are just some examples, but we can make York City and many other big cities less dirty by giving a little effort to making it beautiful.

Bethany Fehlinger

Bethany Fehlinger is a journalist in the Design Center at the York Daily Record. She is a graduate of Penn State University, is a York City dweller and has been vegetarian and geek for more than five years. Twitter: @Wonder_veggie

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